Introducing a new cat to resident cat

posted 3 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
Member
2571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

1) Most definitely male…

 

2) I don’t think it’s necessary, but it helps.

 

Fi and I had to get our respective kitties acclimated to each other when I moved in.  We have a boy and a girl, she’s older than him.  They hiss a lot less than they used to, but it’s taken almost 2 years…lol  Just make sure one of them is locked up when the new one is exploring for the first time, get them used to each other’s scents, etc.  We sprinkled some catnip around so they’d both be a bit more relaxed. 

 

For the first week or so we would lock one up in the bathroom or bedroom if we left and we were never gone too long.  One day, FI went somewhere while I was at work and he left them both out.  I freaked out, but they were fine.

 

She definitely dominates our little boy, but he holds his own and most of them time they are always together, which makes us wonder if they really do just tolerate each other. 😉  Good luck!

 

Post # 4
Member
3538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I introduced a kitten to my female spayed 3 year old cat a few years ago.

She hated the kitten at first.  Hissed and growled, but never attacked.  I’d say go for a kitten because the kitten is most likely not going to try to attack your current cat and will be more submissive.  Trying to introduce an adult cat will probably result in both cats fighting. Temperment will be hard to tell in a kitten…my cats have two totally different personalities, and they get along fine now. 

When we brought the kitten home, we introduced them in an open area of the house.  You don’t want your current kitty to feel cornered.  Maybe leave the new kitty in a carrier for a while so old kitty can scope it out safely.  If current kitty is highly aggressive to new kitty, don’t leave them alone.  If you have to leave the house, put new kitty in a bathroom or something…that way your current kitty can’t attack, but can get used to to the scent of the new kitty. 

Our cat wanted nothing to do with the kitty for about 2 weeks…she’d just growl at her if she got too close, but she never attacked.  After a while they would play together and now they are inseparable. 

Also, make sure to feed them separately, in different areas.  New kitty should not use old kitty’s food dish or litter box.  You should have 2 litter boxes for 2 cats anyway, some cats are funny about sharing.  Over the years, mine share the two boxes we have, and they seem to prefer to poop in one and pee in the other…weirdos…LOL

Good luck introducing your cats!

Post # 6
Member
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

My cat is fairly submissive towards other cats, so I’ve never had an issue, but he has been around lots of different animals since he was a kitten.  I did see an episode of My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet, where to introduce two cats where one was aggressive, they shut the cats in separate parts of the house and fed them on opposite sides of the door everyday, so the cats associated each other’s smells with something good.  Eventually they opened the door while they did this but then shut it after they ate so that they ended on a good note.  And then worked up to leaving the door open longer.  I would also get a cat tree or something similar, so the cats can each have their own “territory” up high and on the floor, somewhere to get away from the other cat.  It can absolutely work, but you have to make both cats feel confident and secure and introduce them slowly if you foresee an issue.  Also, maybe have your FI start feeding your cat and being the bearer of treats and playtime so that your cat starts to respect him more and stops hissing at him.

Post # 7
Member
2685 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

BOY. Girl cats are less likely to get along with each other. Is your current cat playful? If so, get another playful cat. If not, a calmer, older kitty might be a better choice.

Post # 9
Member
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@rcac1208:  Put the new pet in a seperate room from resident pet and let them sniff each other under the door, then a day or more later, put the new pet in a cage and let them see sniff again.  Then leash both and let them see each other after a few more days.

The slower the better otherwise if it goes bad you need to start back at square one with them in different rooms.  The point is to have only positive meetings!

Post # 10
Member
8593 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Definitely get a boy and I would probably get a kitten.

We had one male kitten and we got a girl kitten who is a few months younger than the boy.  The boy had been with about 3 months before we got the girl. 

She was fine but he was a little aggressive towards her at first (chasing after her and biting her).  We introduced them in the open but then we each got on one side of the door and let them look at each and smell each other with the door cracked open for an hour or so.  For the first week we alternated putting them in the bedroom at times.  So I had the new kitten sleep in our bedroom for the first 4-5 days.  So the first few days if we left to go anywhere we separated them.  But they got used to each other really fast and we were comfortable leaving them alone for the entire weekend after the first week.  Now they are perfectly fine.

I lived in another house where we had a girl cat (maybe 2 years old) and introduced a male kitten.  She hated him at first but she warmed up to him within a month.  They were fine.

Another time the same girl and boy above were introduced to a 3rd, female cat.  The more agressive female (the first mentioned) was very mean to the 3rd cat (chasing and attacking) and had territory issues (going outside the litter box, going on people’s clothes, etc).  I definitely think it’s because they were both female.  Luckily they didn’t live together very long!

I’ve also watched My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet a few times and they have good advice for cats that don’t get along.  I’d look up some info!

Post # 13
Member
409 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I wouldn’t get a super young kitten, but I wouldn’t think an older cat already set in his or her ways would be the best choice either.  Maybe somewhere around a year old?

Post # 14
Member
1626 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

My advice would be to get a younger cat or a kitten. Maybe not a super tiny one, but a younger one. I have a male cat who was ~4-6 years old (I resuced him, so no real idea of his age) when I brought home a 1 year old, also male, kitty. My big cat was always very shy and skittish but had started to open up and get more confident, so I thought a younger cat would help him to establish dominance and also feel like he’s still the head cat in charge. He was also at home by himself all the time while I worked two jobs and I thought he was lonely after being alone all day for a year.

At first he HATED my little cat, but now they are BFF. They snuggle in the window and give each other baths and have some weird food dominance eating off of each other’s plate thing going on. They drive me crazy (WORTH IT!!).

But my little cat has actually brought out the playfulness and confidence in my big cat, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I know you think your cat might get “annoyed” and that is true – she very well could. But once they acclimate to each other the other kitty might actually make your current cat more playful. My two chase each other all over the house/furniture/us, lol. And they wrestle and get high on catnip together and play on the scratcher/with the laser together. It has actually kept my older guy active, which is great because he’s around 7-9 now. 🙂 But he still beats the shit out of my little cat. XD

For your female, I’d get a male. Females can be very territorial and I find they are often meaner than male cats (just my preference/observation, it’s probably not scientifically true). She would probably like it better. And I’d suggest a younger one so your cat can still feel dominant and also teach the younger one her ways as opposed to having a fully adult cat vying for authority with your other adult cat.

Hope that helps!

ETA: I’d look for a cat around 6 months to a year-year and a half*

Post # 15
Member
2593 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

When my first cat was four years old, I found a kitten in a gas station parking lot.  My parents said we could keep him until we found him a good home…well, that ‘good home’ ended up being with us, because that was about 16 years ago.  Both cats were male.  Because the kitten was a stray and not vetted, we kept them separate, (the kitten was in its own room and the other cat had free roam of the house, but could smell/hear the new cat through the door).  Funny that wanting to keep our cat away from an unvaccinated cat led us to do what is now the recommended way to introduce a new cat to the resident cat.  After he was vetted, we slowly started introducing the cats.  Resident cat wasn’t thrilled at first, but over time they came like brothers, (loved each other most of them time, with occasional fights thrown in).

My husband had two female cats.  They were from a farm, and very close to the same age, though probably not from the same litter, (it was just a bunch of cats breeding wily nily, multiple females having litters around the same time….still drives me nuts that they didn’t FIX the cats, but that’s another story!  lol!).  They got along pretty much the same as my two cats.

Now the fun part….when DH and I had been dating about six months, he was basically unofficially living with me at my parents’ house.  His sister was moving away for college, and his parents, (who are not particularly animal lovers), told him he needed to take the cats or the humane society would have to take them.  I was appalled that they were considering dumping their 10 year old cats, and DH was actually upset with me, thinking I “didn’t like” his parents, (I asked him, “Are they going to be getting any more pets?”  He said no, and I said, “Well then it won’t be an issue,” and that was that).  We kept the two cats separted for several days.  My younger cat was now around their age, and rather cranky.  We tried everything we knew how to do at the time, (about ten years ago now), but though for the most part one of his females and my males pretty much ignored each other, my crabby male and his other female could not get along no matter what we tried.  We ended up accidentally discovering what is referred to as site-swapping, (one cat, or in my case, two cats, are allowed free roam of the house while the other is confined, and then you swap them out so the confined cat(s) now have free roam for part of day as well).  

About two years after we got them, one of DH’s cats passed away.  A few years after that, my oldest cat, (now 17 or so), passed away.  We were left with the two cats who hated each other.  DH was convinced “my” cat was just an a-hole and would not believe “his” cat was the one starting all the fights.  After another year of site-swapping, DH’s other cat passed away.  

Now down to one cat, we decided to try fostering cats, (it turns out we suck at it, because we have foster failed twice now, three times if you count foster-failing with our dog before that).  We got an adult female, around two years of age, (best guess, since she was a stray).  We kept them separate until we were sure the new cat was healthy and had been vaccinated, then slowly started introducing them.  They were always semi-cautious around each other, pretty much ignoring each other, and never really friends, but they never fought either, (and DH finally had to realize it HAD been his cat starting all the fights).

When DH and I moved out, we took our foster cat, but “my” cat stayed with my parents, (he was a family cat, now a senior who had lived in the home since kittenhood, and we decided we didn’t want to stress him with a move).  After we moved out and he became an “only cat” again, he started seeming lonely.  My parents were interested in adding another cat to the family, and thanks to Petfinder.com, they found a nice, senior female from a just-starting-out local rescue.  We introduced them slowly.  Cautious of each other at first, but no fighting, (HA, DH!).  They are now the best of friends.  They are almost always together, they sleep on my parents’ bed together at night, they clean each other’s faces….we could not have found a better match for “my” guy and the family, (and the daycare kids…they all adore her, too!).  

Meanwhile, at our house, I found a young, female cat in a local impound that was nearing capacity, (and capacity usually means they need to schedule a euthanasia).  We decided to foster again, (and because we suck at it, we ended up foster-failing with our second kitty-foster).  We followed Jackson Galaxy’s recomendations for site-swapping and feeding on other sides of the door…our cat, (who is about five now), was terrified of this seven-month old kitten who was about a third her size).  In order to feed them on opposite sides of the door, we first had to start feeding the resident cat at the bottom of the stairs and her bowl up a couple stairs each night, then move it about a foot down the hallway towards the door once we overcame the stairway.  It took a lot longer than normal to be able to let them out together.  The younger cat has a lot more energy, and the older cat often just watches her with a look of kitty-disdain.  But they don’t really fight, they occasionally play together by taking turns chasing each other around the house, (by now we have learned the difference between play-chasing and fight-chasing)…they aren’t to the point of mutual grooming/snuggling each other.  They may never be, but they get along, they watch birds out our patio door together, they with both sleep on our bed at the same time…so if they never get to the BFF-stage, that’s okay.

I also have an aquaintance who adopted two cats one day, brought them home and bascially threw them together with her resident cat.  After a couple days of “fighting it out”, all three adult females get along, (but please, NEVER introduce cats this way…it’s stressful enough coming into a new home without increasing that stress with an immediate fight for dominance).

I know this has gotten SUPER long, and for that, I apologize.  The point I am trying to make with my rambling is that there is no 100% right or wrong answer about which cat to add to your home.  Generally it is considered “easier” to introduce cats of the opposite gender, especially if they are the same age or if the new cat is younger.  Because you have a somewhat cranky cat like I did, I would NOT suggest a very young kitten…I would find a cat around six months or older, who is better able to defend itself if it comes down to it.  You probably also want to adopt a cat that is already fixed.  Petfinder.com allows you to search only for specific genders of cats, so if you want to look for only male cats, you can easily do so.  More important than gender, though, is personality, so keep that in mind when reading kitty bios and doing meet-and-greets.  You know YOUR cat…do you think the cat you are reading about or meeting is a cat she would come to accept?

Also, keep in mind that there is a SMALL chance that your cat will never accept a new cat.  Are you prepared to either return to other cat to the rescue, or practice site-swapping for the rest of one of their lives?  This almost never happens, but it is something to keep in mind before you bring a new cat into your family.

Good luck, and keep us updated!

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